Life on the Farm with Gibson, Shepherd in Training

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Gibson the pup
photo by Tim Bronson

“Are you sure they didn’t send you a Holstein by accident?” joked a fellow workshop attendee who was pointing at Gibson—my then 4-month-old Border Collie pup. Gibson wasn’t interested in much besides landscaping. Just twenty yards behind him very serious dogs were circling sheep in a small pen. Gibson didn’t even turn around to smell the lanolin. He was all about the grass, his head buried in it. Standing there against the green grass, abnormally large for the breed and all black and white… Gibson did look kind of like a cow. This was at a Herding 101 workshop in June of 2010.

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Guess the Breed and Win a FREE Orvis Dog’s Nest!

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Take a guess at our trivia question and, right or wrong, you could win a FREE ToughChew® Dog’s Nest® from Orvis!
This breed (which is NOT pictured below) looks similar to a foxhound but is shorter with softer and longer ears. It has a superb sense of smell for tracking. The modern breed was bred in Great Britain circa 1830 from the Talbot Hound, the Southern Hound, and other breeds, possibly even the Harrier.

Let us know your guess in the comment section (click the READ MORE link and scroll to COMMENTS). We’ll pick a random answer, right or wrong, on FRIDAY, March 4, at 3 EST to win the ToughChew® Dog’s Nest® worth up to $185.00!

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Murph Training: Stealth

No, I’m not training Murph for black ops missions, nor am I training him in secret. Actually stealth training refers to training Murph when he doesn’t know he is being trained. This is not a revolutionary concept by any means and good trainers do it all the time, but it’s worth talking about. A lot of amateur trainers (such as myself) tend to focus on the training session and forget about the rest of the day. First of all this sends an inconsistent message to the puppy and secondly, it is a lost opportunity.

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Murph Training: Murph’s Rebellion

Murphy has entered his first rebellious stage, which I knew would come eventually. It can be frustrating if you let it; so don’t let it, because it’s also pretty humorous. The key is to eliminate the opportunity for this response and take a step back for a few days.

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Murph Training, Week Three: Murphy Figures it Out



Murph’s learning curve is so steep now I’m not sure where to begin. We continue to build on sit and stay, and now responding to his name and heel have been added to the mix. I am working Murph twice a day now for about 10 truly focused minutes each, once by himself here at work and then when I get home with Pickett added to the mix. But what’s important is that in every interaction with Murph, work or play, I try to make sure I am reinforcing a good habit and not accidentally instilling a bad one. I try to think through everything we’re doing.

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Dog Walks to Fight Canine Cancer are Springing Up

Orvis Cover Dog Contest - Goliath
Goliath Takes a Break in the Sun
Photo by James Hathaway

Spring is right around the corner and it’s never too early to start planning your outdoor activities with family and friends. Each year, more and more, dog walks to help find cures for canine cancer are “springing” up, like the one at Elk Grove National Park in Elk Grove, California.

If you’re in the area, join Morris Animal Foundation and Northern California dog lovers on Saturday, May 7, for the 3rd annual Morris Animal Foundation K9 Cancer Walk at Elk Grove Regional Park in Elk Grove. The event will benefit the Foundation’s Canine Cancer Campaign, an initiative to fund research to treat, prevent and, ultimately, cure cancer in dogs. To participate in this year’s K9 Cancer Walk, register at K9CancerWalk.

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Dog Days with Toby!

There are many reasons I appreciate working at the Orvis Home Offices in Sunderland, Vermont: The upland cover and brook trout fishing just outside the door; the conservation work we support; the view outside the window; and the good people who are as committed to outdoor pursuits as I am. But on days like today, hands down the best reason has to be the love of dogs among associates and the dog-friendly atmosphere.

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Murph Training, Week II: Introducing Stay and Reinforcing the Calm in Murph

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Murph
(photo by Tim Bronson)

Given the weather up here in the Northeast, not only do I feel sorry for Murph having to go outside but I feel pretty sorry for myself sometimes. Standing outside at 3 AM and waiting for Murph to take care of business is actually pretty comical, but not much fun, particularly when it is below zero. In retrospect, I would avoid getting a puppy in the dead of winter again unless I lived south of the Mason Dixon. But, and it’s a big but, I wanted this breeding. I’m thrilled with Murphy, and I’m finding ways to work around the weather both inside and outside when it’s reasonable.

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A follow up to ‘Canine Cancer Hits Home’: Riley and Josie Visit Orvis

Last week I posted a piece on my daughter Riley’s puppy, Willow, succumbing to canine cancer at just 6 months old (read the story here). So many of you wrote such kind things on Facebook and in the comments of my original post that I wanted to give you all some happy news.

Here is my daughter Riley visiting the Orvis home office with the newest addition to our family, Josie!


Riley and Josie Visit Orvis


I think they look pretty happy together, don’t you?

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Snow Hound

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Snow Hound!

Living in the southwest corner of a northeastern state has its advantages. For instance, when it’s 0ºF in Burlington, it’s a balmy 5ºF in my neck of the woods. When they get pounded with an inch of slush in Philly, we’re buried in a foot of snow. Some may not see this as an advantage, but I do. I like snow. And this year so far has been a doozy in terms of storm activity. But as long as it’s gone by Memorial Day, it can snow every day for all I care.

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